Giving to the College of Education and Public Service
Goal 3: Expand Two Interdisciplinary Research Institutes to Develop, Test, and Apply Best Practices in Regional Governance, School Success, Collaborative Leadership, and Ethical Public Service ($6 million)
The research institutes contain centers that target specific urban challenges. The College is seeking an endowment to support these research institutes. Through its institutes, the College provides continuing professional education, leadership training, and a universally accessible database of best practices, helping address the challenges faced by urban regions nationally and worldwide. These challenges include dramatic shifts in populations, severe housing decline, loss of family structure, fractured leadership, and schools that fail to meet the basic educational needs of children.
Among the projects currently being carried out by the institutes are The School/Community Collaborative, bringing together University faculty and students with inner city teachers and high-risk children to improve the educational preparation of our future teachers while positively impacting children and schools; and the Urban Redevelopment Studio which tests and implements innovative strategies in the areas of urban planning, neighborhood renewal, and community development.
As part of the campaign for Saint Louis University, "Where Knowledge Touches Lives," the College seeks to raise an endowment of $6 million to provide research and training support for both faculty and graduate students working in these institutes.
Benefits of the Research Institutes
Tracking mosquitoes to manage West Nile Virus; establishing a comprehensive neighborhood information system to assist local foundations in decisions about neighborhood investment; providing county government with the tools to strategically manage change; introducing primary school students and teachers to best practices for raising math and reading levels among central city children; identifying and preparing future school administrators for the challenges of educational leadership; producing case studies of ethical dilemmas faced by public service practitioners for use in training in-service and pre-service teachers, city administrators, and clinicians - these are among some of the research and service projects that teams of interdisciplinary faculty are conducting in the College of Education and Public Service through its research institutes.
These research institutes are meeting the challenge proposed by Neal Pierce and Charles Johnson in their 1997 Call to Action to develop
…a best practices strategy that no other world region has consciously undertaken. The idea is for the St. Louis region to reach out across America and the globe to identify a broad array of practices on every front. With the right university and civic, business and media alliances, …the St. Louis region could become North America's most imaginative laboratory for successful 21st century metropolitan life.
The College of Education and Public Service, through its research institutes, has become a fulcrum for bringing together faculty from across the University to engage in collaborative applied research that benefits the region and enhances the preparation of future urban practitioners. According to Richard Ward of Development Strategies, "The ability to link these university resources with local civic and business leaders as well as with national experts on urban issues has created a venue where regional challenges can be analyzed and creative solutions introduced to key decision makers." Ward cites as one example the successful University - Community Partnership Conference co-sponsored by the College of Education and Public Service and the Urban Land Institute that brought together developers, university leaders from M.I.T., the University of Pennsylvania, SLU, Wash. U., and other institutions of higher education along with political and business leaders to discuss how universities can be the driving force for urban redevelopment and economic stimulation.
An endowment fund supporting the work of the institutes will insure sufficient resources to underwrite faculty research, the dissemination of resulting best practices, professional support staff for the development of grants and contracts, student research grants, and national conferences highlighting St. Louis and the region.